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Alfred Ellis (1833-1919)

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Alfred Ellis was born on January 13, 1833. He was born into two of the oldest families of the village; his parents were Jesse Ellis (1790-1866) and Julia Dean Ellis (1794-1876). He lived his entire life in the family home at the corner of today’s Washington Street and Ellis Avenue. The house still stands there at 88 Washington Street.

When he enlisted in the Civil War, in August, 1862, Alfred Ellis gave his occupation as a cabinet maker, but for most of his life, he worked on the family farm. He joined Company I of the 35th Massachusetts Regiment, a unit which saw considerable action. Alfred Ellis was wounded in action in the battle of Antietam, Maryland, on September 17, 1862 but returned to his unit. He was again wounded at the battle of Poplar Spring Church, Virginia, on September 30, 1864.

During the conflict, he was promoted to corporal, then sergeant, and mustered out on June 9, 1865. After the war, he joined the George K. Bird Post of Civil War veterans and attended reunions of the Massachusetts 35th Regiment.

Alfred Ellis married Martha Emily Ellis of Wrentham in 1862. On September 20, 1868, their infant daughter died. A month later, on October 27, 1868, Martha Ellis died of consumption at the age of 25. She and their daughter are buried with Alfred’s parents.

On December 4, 1873, Alfred married a second time. His wife, Margaret Donley Ellis (1844-1922) was born in Pennsylvania. The couple had two sons, Walter and David.

When Alfred Ellis died on July 19, 1919, at his home at 88 Washington Street – the house in which he had been born -- he was one of Norwood’s oldest citizens and one of a dwindling number of Civil War veterans. He was 86 years old, and had been in failing health for a year.

According to the Norwood Messenger, Alfred Ellis “was highly respected in the community, was of modest and pleasant disposition, and well liked by all who knew him. He attended the Universalist Church. He was a good citizen, and always took a great interest in town meeting, and made it a point to vote at every election. He was survived by his wife, Margaret, two sons, David Ellis of Norwood, and Walter J. Ellis of Providence R. I., by five grandsons, and three great-grandchildren. His burial was in the family lot in the Old Parish Cemetery.”

Alfred’s widow, Margaret Donley Ellis died on August 23, 1922. She was 78 and residing with her son, David Ellis, at 88 Washington Street


Ellis gravestone cleaned and reset by Old Parish Preservation Volunteers

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